Kiladangan: 1-28, Loughmore/Castleiney: 3-20.
It was an historic day for Kiladangan GAA club as they claimed their first Tipperary senior hurling title in Semple Stadium on Sunday. Bryan McLoughney was the hero for Kiladangan with a last-minute goal which took the title, after a late free from John McGrath appeared to snatch the win for Loughmore/Castleiney. Luckily for Kiladangan, there was still time to go down the field and look for an equalising point, but when the ball came to McLoughney, he went for a winning goal and found the net to win the county title. It was a dramatic conclusion to a very dramatic county final, which had end to end action throughout the game.
Loughmore/Castleiney made a blistering start, scoring three goals in the opening half. Evan Sweeney scored the first, before a brilliant pass from county star Noel McGrath set up Tomás McGrath for their second. Their forwards were extremely sharp, demonstrated by their third goal, when Ciaran and John McGrath combined for a terrific score. Kiladangan didn’t panic, and kept the scoreboard ticking through Billy Seymour, Sean Hayes and Paul Flynn. They steadied the ship and hit the last four points of the half to make the score 3-5 to 0-12 at the interval. Bryan Lawlor’s side had done very well to narrow the margin to two points, considering they had conceded three goals, but their backs were visibly more solid as the first half went on. Kiladangan had momentum and it was anyone’s game in Semple Stadium.
They kept that momentum after half time, with scores from Seymour, McLoughney and Paul and Alan Flynn, while John McGrath added points for Loughmore/Castleiney at the other end. The sides were level at 3-8 to 0-17, and the game went point for point in a tense second half. Noel McGrath, Joseph Nyland and Brian McGrath got crucial scores for Loughmore/Castleiney, as they edged back in front. Kiladangan stayed with them all they way however, with Paul Flynn, Seymour (0-2) and Sean Hayes getting points at the other end. When Flynn scored a point to put Kiladangan ahead in injury time, it looked like it would be their day. However, Tipp star Noel McGrath hit a late equaliser which ensured that extra time was required in Semple Stadium.
Both sides had great leaders who stood up in extra-time, with the McGrath’s and centre back John Meagher outstanding for Loughmore/Castleiney. For Kiladangan, it was the likes of full back James Quigley, Alan Flynn at wing back and Seymour and McLoughney in the forwards. John McGrath displayed nerves of steel to point a ’65 in injury time. Loughmore/Castleiney appeared to have one hand on the trophy, but there was more drama to come. Kiladangan forward Joe Gallagher won the puck out and made a great run through the defence before passing to McLoughney on his right. McLoughney produced a brilliant shot to the top corner which gave ‘keeper David Kennedy no chance. The final whistle came seconds later, as Kiladangan celebrated their first county title in the most dramatic fashion possible.
Kiladangan: B. Hogan, D. Flannery, J. Quigley, F. Hayes; D. McGrath (0-1), D. Sweeney, A. Flynn (0-3); W. Connors (0-1 side-line), T. Gallagher; S. Hayes (0-4), J. Gallagher, B. Seymour (0-8, 0-6 frees); D. O’Meara (0-1), P. Flynn (0-7), B. McLoughney (1-2). Subs: A. Loughnane (0-1) for McLoughney (44 mins), M. Minehan for O’Meara (56 mins), McLoughney for Connors (74 mins), D. Moran for McGrath (75 mins).
Loughmore/Castleiney: D. Kennedy, L. Egan, J. Hennessy, W. Eviston; J. Ryan, J. Meagher, A. McGrath; B. McGrath (0-1), C. Connolly; J. Nyland (0-2), J. McGrath (1-10, 0-6 frees, 0-1 ’65), N. McGrath (0-5); T. McGrath (1-0), Ciaran McGrath, E. Sweeney (1-0). Subs: Conor McGrath for T. McGrath (45 mins), L. Treacy (0-1) for Connolly (53 mins), Connolly for Ciaran McGrath (70 mins), T. Maher (0-1) for A. McGrath (74 mins).
Referee: M. Kennedy.